Shoot rare military memorabilia (medals, daggers, insignias, etc.) for inclusion in to an auction catalog and online viewing portal. Images must be large (3000-4000px, .tiff), with no specular reflection, especially the dagger blades (ornate etchings), yet show depth and texture of every item. Some edge specular was acceptable and desired.
I was invited to a test shoot; Determine my ability to produce the image quality required. Of course, the people inviting me in, are not photographers and did not completely communicate the details of how, what or where I’d be shooting. So I loaded up the car with a little bit of everything and off I went.
During the test shoot it became obvious I needed to “MacGyver” a better solution than bouncing a soft box off tabletop white seamless. I needed an indirect, side lit solution, height adjustable with the camera directly overhead.
Using what I had around the house, I needed only two extra pieces of foam board. The three black boards are taped together, creating a trifold. The two holes cut for the storbs hold the trifold in place nicely and are not affected by heat from the modeling lamps.
I was originally thinking black board for zero reflection on the knife blades. While that did work, adding a white board clamped to the center board, is much better for a uniform, non-specular reflection. And, now I have both options should the image call for a change up. I also included two white boards on each end to provide more uniform lighting.
Light stand (one side) consists of: Standard light stand with optional sand bag
> Swivel umbrella adaptor with double stud adaptor
> Paul C Buff mini boom arm
> Pole clamp connected to large spring clamp holding 3×4’ white foam board reflector
<a href=”http://www.lighting-essentials.com/category/summer-school/”><img src=”http://www.lighting-essentials.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/SUMMER-SCHOOL.gif” alt=”SUMMER-SCHOOL” width=”200″ height=”158″ class=”alignright size-full wp-image-8897″ /></a>MANY OF THE TUTORIALS DURING “SUMMER SCHOOL” ARE BY <a href=”http://www.project52pros.com” target=”_blank”>PROJECT 52 PRO</a> MEMBERS EITHER CURRENTLY ENROLLED OR ALUMNI.
Here is a look at my processes. From Lightroom to Photoshop to finished image. These are the simple steps that I use nearly every time. I hope you enjoy it.
ALL THE TUTORIALS DURING “SUMMER SCHOOL” ARE BY PROJECT 52 PRO MEMBERS EITHER CURRENTLY ENROLLED OR ALUMNI – or little ol’ me.
The assignment was to photograph some pills and bottle for a drop in to another shot.
- Parameters for the shot? White background…..that’s it. My thought process for this shot was how can I make this even a little bit interesting
- What type of shadows do I want and
- What kind of specular/highlight do I want.
To this end I chose a brightly colored bottle and pills…more interesting than solid white pills.
I then used a softbox close to subject to soften shadows and a small strip light on a speedlight to give long specular highlights and help show shape of the pills.
(I actually started with a Gary Fong diffuser instead but the specular was round and small and didn’t help show the shape. Below you can see how the highlights from a small, round light do not help the presentation of the pills.)
A BTS of the Fong Lighting:
For the key light I used an Einstein F8 through a Softlighter camera right and for fill and Einstein F4 through a 8in reflector and 30 degree grid, camera left. The reflector was angled up towards the model’s shoulder slightly towards the back wall. I also feathered the Softlighter slightly forward from the model to get the Rembrandt effect.
For post-processing I use Capture One to get my exposure, color balance, contrast, sharpness, clarity and structure dialed in. I then transferred the image to CS6 and de-noised with Nik Dfine, followed by skin smoothing with Imagenomic Portraiture, balanced contrast with Nik Pro Contrast/Color Efx and sharpened with Nik RAW pre-sharpener.
I finally did a BW conversion in Nik Silver FX. Here is a BTS that the model snapped while I was setting up.
You can see more of Hiram’s work at his website.
ALL THE TUTORIALS DURING “SUMMER SCHOOL” ARE BY PROJECT 52 PRO MEMBERS EITHER CURRENTLY ENROLLED OR ALUMNI.